Olney Hymns Book 1 Hymn 80
When sinners utter boasting words...
Manuscript Hymn No. 249
They shall be mine, saith the Lord
When sinners utter boasting words,
And glory in their shame;
The Lord, well-pleased, an ear affords
To those who fear his name.
They often meet to seek his face,
And what they do, or say,
Is noted in his book of grace
Against another day.
For they by faith a day descry,
And joyfully expect,
When he, descending from the sky,
His jewels will collect.
Unnoticed now, because unknown,
A poor and suffering few;
He comes to claim them for his own,
And bring them forth to view.
With transport then their Saviour’s care
And favour they shall prove;
As tender parents guard and spare
The children of their love.
Assembled worlds will then discern
The saints alone are blest;
When wrath shall like an oven burn,
And vengeance strike the rest.
from John Newton's Diary, relevant to this hymn:
Sunday 7 July 1776
Had some hopes of a pleasant day, but my spirit was wounded by hearing before I returned from the churchyard in the morning, of a barbarous abuse of a poor woman by some of our drunken rioters last night which ended in her death. I was affected though not suitably. Oh Lord when will these things end? Help me to mourn for my own sins, and the sins of those among whom I live. Thou helpedst me to speak in the forenoon on Watchfulness and Prayer. O that I could receive the lesson myself. I had some view to the case of ACJ in the afternoon; took occasion to mention the other shocking affair. I spoke earnestly, though my spirit was much contracted and confused.
Tuesday 9 July 1776
At the Great House finished Hopeful's case. In the evening buried the poor woman who was killed last week. The Coroner and his Jury found it manslaughter against one person only, though several were concerned in the abuse, and I think the law, so far I understand Blackstone and Bacon [classic books on the Law of England], would construe it Murder. Thy law O Lord they cannot elude. Facts and principles appear before thee without extenuation or disguise. O that thou wouldst visit them by thy Spirit and so convince them of sin, as that they might flee to thee for salvation.
Thursday 11 July 1776
I preached on thy gracious All-sufficiency to thy people, a subject of which I seem to have the fullest conviction, and yet alas, how far is it from being realised to my heart. O put forth thy power and save me from self and an inordinate attachment to those things which prevent my rejoicing in thee. Genesis 17:1
Sunday 14 July 1776
I praise thee my Lord for helping me in the service of another Sabbath. Bless what I spoke of thy truth, and forgive what was mine. I am grieved (though not as I ought) with the miscarriages of professors. Some dreadful things have come to light, which though not among our denomination, should affect me for it is thy cause that is wounded. That I may bear a more particular testimony against the sins abounding amongst us, and do it without fixing the attention of the people to personal concerns, I have thought to expound The Commandments in order. Began this afternoon with some preliminary observations. Do thou open to me this part of thy will, and enable me to preach both the Law and Gospel to the profit of the hearers.
Hymn No. 249
[On this date Newton preached from the above texts at his church, St Peter & St Paul, Olney, during the morning and afternoon services, and from this hymn at the informal evening service]
Hymn: MS Eng 1317, Houghton Library, Harvard University
Diary: John Newton Collection, CO199, Princeton University
Marylynn Rouse, 10/09/2013